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Raid build and workflow question

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Jeff Bye
Raid build and workflow question
on Mar 23, 2012 at 7:50:17 pm

I'm hoping some of you may have attempted similar builds with success.

I originally was looking into the Norco DS-24e, but after reading about issues with SATA drives running through SAS expanders I decided to steer clear of that until the fix isn't limited to Solaris.

Here's the build:
<a href=""> Norco 4224 </a>$450
<a href=""> Hitachi 5k3000 3TB </a>24 @ $5100
<a href=""> Areca 1680IX-24</a> $1200

I added a couple hundred for cables and different fans which puts me right around $7k for 72TB.

The card will go into a mac pro we have and the cables will run through an empty slot in the back, which is a little messy but safer than using SAS expanders and cheaper than using SAS drives. This isn't going to be set up as a SAN, but rather four Raid-5 volumes to be used as storage for AEs. We're currently bringing in each tape @ 10:1 and then calling on those tapes again when we know what shots we need, which of course means hours of wasted time recapturing footage in realtime. Much is still shot on Mini-DV and DVC-PRO (EX-3 sparingly) and this should provide us with plenty of space provided we keep everything at ProRes 4:2:2 1080p. I'm assuming that with about 60TB of usable disk space we'll be able to rotate maybe two shows at a time with one box, knowing how much we shoot.

Have any of you tried something along these lines?

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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Raid build and workflow question
on Mar 23, 2012 at 10:23:13 pm

The DS-24e uses a well-regarded Areca Expander that, as far as I know is fine with SATA drives. Do you have any links to the issues? Here is the expander used in that chasis:

We use an 6G Intel Expander ( in our in-house array build (in the 4240) and if I had to do it again I'd use the DS-24e and save some sweat and tears. However, if what you say is accurate, in this case, the Intel card has had no trouble with 3G and 6G SATA drives in addition to SAS drives. It's running on a cheap, headless, ASUS motherboard with no CPU or RAM installed.

Something else to think about, though, is the size of the cables. It sounds like you intend to run the 6 internal SAS cables (which will connect to the 6 SAS backplanes in the 4224) through an unused PCIe slot bracket. You might (having made similiar mistakes in the past) want to check just how large those cables are; because when we did our build, I was very surprised by the, well, "robust" nature of SAS cabling.

No matter, it's a very fun and rewarding DIY job if you have the time and are ready to accept the occasional challenge. Our DIY array setup has been running 24/7 since the build and hasn't missed a step.

There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger

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Jeff Bye
Re: Raid build and workflow question
on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:53:35 pm

I appreciate the encouragement; this is quite an undertaking. The cables did look a bit thick, so I'm glad you brought that up. If I could get them to agree to build this into an actual server (NAS) to feed 2-3 edit bays over GigE, none of this would be an issue.

A gentleman from Nexenta over on Hardforum gave a pretty good write-up in the Norco thread in regards to running SATA drives behind SAS expanders:


We aren't exactly running a data center so I'm not *too* worried, but being that we'd be running the cheapest drives on the market I'd like to get peace of mind somewhere along the chain.

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